Friendly faces from Mountain Equipment Co-Op, Arc’teryx, Icebreaker and Innate arrived at Heywood Park by foot, bike, carpool and public transportation for our first Canadian Backyard Collective on Wednesday, August 29th. There they were met with coffee, Clif bars and smiles from the Canadian Parks & Wilderness BC, (CPAWS BC) staff and team members.
It was CPAWS BC, our Backyard Collective partner, who connected us with Dana McDonald, Project Manager of Urban Ecology at Evergreen and Angela Negenman, Environmental Technician with the City of North Vancouver. Together we served as hosts for an invasive species removal project within the park.
Dana provided project tools and volunteer leadership while Angela provided context on the stages of City of North Vancouver park planning development–from their 2011 inventory through this year’s strategic planning effort and improvements now underway. Their respective passion and knowledge were well matched by our volunteers, who were every bit as inquisitive as they were energetic.
Angela explained that although a variety of invasive species including Hogweed, Knotweed and Holly threaten native flora and fauna with their presence in the park, our volunteer efforts for the day would be focused on Ivy and Blackberry removal.
Four teams of Backyard Collective volunteers spread out as instructed to address swaths of land, removing Blackberry and Ivy as to prevent excessive erosion. Soon loppers were lopping, shovels were digging and gloved hands took to pulling long strands of Ivy to get to their roots.
Once again, the power of the collective was on display as brambles, ivy strands and impressive root balls were piled high. Along the way, participants had the opportunity to listen, share and learn from their colleagues in the outdoor industry as well as those focused on conservation at the grassroots level. It is these connections that make the Backyard Collective events especially fulfilling.
By noon our objectives were fulfilled and our volunteers hungry. We returned for a sack lunch and a Q & A program led by Angela. The Dogwood Initiative joined us for the Volunteer Fair and we finished the day with a raffle followed up by our first ever Backyard Collective Pop Quiz. Naturally, our team aced it.
Thanks again to our phenomenal partners and member business volunteers who came out for a great day in North Vancouver!